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Cairns Electricity Price Hike: July 2023

Cairns, a gem in Queensland, Australia, renowned for its stunning natural beauty and bustling tourism industry, is now confronting a less favourable development: a significant rise in electricity prices slated for July 2023. This increase in electricity costs is a pressing concern for households and businesses throughout the region. This article will delve into the reasons behind this price hike and its potential impact on the Cairns community. Hielscher Electrical, specialists in rooftop solar panel installation and energy-saving solutions, is committed to helping the community navigate these changes. With 13 years of experience, Hielscher Electrical provides insights that can help residents make informed decisions about their energy usage and expenses, offering tailored solutions to meet unique needs.

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Factors Contributing to the Ergon Energy Price Hike

In the past, the primary factors known to have contributed to local electricity price increase in Cairns included:

  1. Cost of fuel: The rising cost of fuel used to generate electricity has played a significant role in the price hike. With fuel prices constantly fluctuating, it has become more expensive to produce electricity.
  2. Renewable energy investments: While renewable energy sources are crucial for reducing emissions, the initial investment and maintenance costs associated with renewable energy infrastructure have contributed to the increase in electricity prices.
  3. Network infrastructure upgrades: Cairns has seen significant investments in upgrading and maintaining its electricity network infrastructure. These infrastructure investments aim to improve the reliability and efficiency of the electricity supply but come at a cost that is passed on to consumers.

What’s Changed in 2023

While historical factors such as the rising cost of fuel, investments in renewable energy, and network infrastructure upgrades have traditionally contributed to electricity price increases in Cairns, the landscape shifted notably in 2023. Ergon Energy customers in North Queensland were confronted with a significant surge in electricity prices, as determined by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

The QCA identified the primary driver of this increase as escalating volatility in wholesale electricity costs. This volatility was not merely a result of the traditional factors but was propelled by a combination of unplanned generator outages and higher coal and gas prices. These elements introduced a new level of complexity to the energy market dynamics, leading to the substantial price hike experienced by consumers.

The wholesale electricity costs are the expenses incurred by retailers like Ergon Energy when purchasing electricity from the National Electricity Market (NEM). To hedge against fluctuating NEM prices, retailers typically purchase ASX contracts. However, the QCA noted a substantial increase in ASX contract prices due to market expectations of higher spot prices and greater price volatility.

The higher coal and gas prices, influenced by external factors such as the war in Ukraine, and the unplanned generator outages, which affect the supply-demand balance in the region, contributed to the increased volatility. Despite the government’s price caps leading to a fall in coal and gas prices, they remained high compared to previous years. Retailers had already purchased ASX contracts to meet 2023-24 energy demands at these elevated prices.

As a result, Ergon Energy customers in North Queensland faced a significant increase in their annual electricity bills. This price increase is expected to put additional pressure on households and businesses already grappling with cost of living challenges. The QCA encourages customers facing hardship to explore government concessions, rebates, and other forms of assistance available.

Effects of the price increase on households and businesses

The recent surge in electricity prices in Cairns has far-reaching consequences for both households and businesses. Here are some of the potential effects:

  1. Financial Strain: The escalated electricity prices can exert pressure on household budgets and business operating costs, leading to an increased cost of living and shrinking profit margins for businesses.
  2. Energy Use: The price hike may prompt consumers to curtail their energy use, leading to behavioural changes and a heightened focus on energy-efficient practices.
  3. Accessibility: The increased costs may render electricity unaffordable for some households, potentially leading to instances of energy poverty within the community.

Given these impacts, it’s crucial for consumers to reassess their budgets and make necessary adjustments to accommodate the increased electricity costs. Here are some strategies that individuals and businesses can consider:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Investing in energy-efficient appliances and adopting energy-saving practices can help lower overall electricity consumption, thereby offsetting the impact of the price increase.
  2. Renewable Energy Alternatives: Considering renewable energy options, such as installing solar panels, can help consumers produce their own electricity and decrease their dependence on the grid, potentially reducing their electricity bills.
  3. Budget Management: Revising and adjusting monthly budgets to account for the increased electricity costs can help consumers better manage their expenses and ensure they can afford their electricity bills.

By implementing these strategies, consumers in Cairns can better navigate the impact of the electricity price increase and find effective ways to manage their energy consumption.

As of 1 July 2023, the annual bill for a typical residential customer (on tariff 11) is forecast to increase by 28.7%, or around $429, from $1,496 to $1,926. Similarly, the annual bill for a typical small business customer (on tariff 20) is expected to rise by 26.8%, or approximately $511, from $1,907 to $2,418. Large customers on Tariff 44, Tariff 45, or Tariff 46 are expected to pay between 7.5% and 16.7% more for electricity in 2023-24.

Ergon Energy Tariff 11 Snapshot

These price increases, set in accordance with the Queensland Government’s uniform tariff policy, could place additional pressure on households and businesses already grappling with cost of living challenges. However, for customers facing hardship, a range of government concessions, rebates, and other forms of assistance are available. Consumers are strongly encouraged to contact their retailer to discuss what support measures may be available to them.

As a Queensland-owned entity, we are committed to maintaining 100% transparency with our customers. It’s your energy, and we’re here to help you manage it effectively.

Mitigation Strategies

To counterbalance the impact of the electricity price surge in Cairns from July 2023, consumers can consider several mitigation strategies:

Efficient Energy Use

  1. Energy-Efficient Appliances: Consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances that consume less electricity, thereby reducing overall energy usage.
  2. Unplug Unused Devices: Standby power consumption can be a hidden energy drain. Unplug devices that are not in use to avoid this unnecessary energy expenditure.
  3. Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats can optimise energy usage for heating and cooling, adjusting temperatures based on your habits and preferences.
  4. LED Lighting: LED bulbs use significantly less energy than traditional light bulbs. Consider replacing your current bulbs with LED options to save on energy costs.

Alternative Energy Sources

While all the above measures can help reduce electricity consumption, one of the most effective ways to mitigate the impact of rising electricity prices is to generate your own power. Here, solar power presents a particularly viable option:

  1. Solar Power: Installing rooftop solar panels can significantly reduce reliance on the grid. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which can be used immediately within the home or business, or stored in a battery for later use. In some cases, excess solar power can even be sold back to the grid, providing an additional source of income.
  2. Battery Storage: Investing in battery storage systems can maximise the benefits of your solar panels. These systems store excess energy generated during the day for use during the night or during periods of high electricity demand, further reducing reliance on the grid.

By adopting these mitigation strategies, consumers can not only reduce their electricity consumption and costs but also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. The adoption of rooftop solar panels, in particular, offers a dual benefit of reducing electricity bills and promoting renewable energy use.

Government and Ergon’s Response

In the face of escalating electricity prices in Cairns, both the government and Ergon Energy have initiated measures to alleviate the burden on consumers.

Government Initiatives

  1. Energy Efficiency Programs: The government has introduced programs designed to help households reduce their electricity consumption and lower their bills. These initiatives offer incentives for installing energy-efficient appliances and implementing energy-saving measures.
  2. Renewable Energy Projects: The government is investing in renewable energy projects to increase the supply of clean and affordable energy. These projects aim to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and, in the long run, lower electricity prices.
  3. Tariff Reforms: The government is reviewing the electricity tariff structure to ensure fairness and affordability for consumers. This includes considering options such as time-of-use pricing and peak-demand pricing to encourage energy conservation.
  4. Energy Market Regulations: The government is implementing regulations to promote competition in the electricity market and prevent excessive price hikes. These regulations aim to ensure that electricity providers are transparent in their pricing and provide affordable options for consumers.
  5. Solar Rebates and Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs): The government has introduced solar rebate programs and STCs to incentivise the installation of solar panels. The solar rebate reduces the upfront cost of installing solar panels, while STCs provide financial incentives based on the amount of electricity a solar system is expected to produce or offset. These initiatives aim to make solar power more accessible and affordable, encouraging consumers to switch to renewable energy sources and reduce their electricity bills.

    The collaboration between the government and electricity providers is crucial in finding sustainable solutions to the issue of rising electricity prices in Cairns. By promoting energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, and implementing fair tariff structures, they aim to create a more affordable and sustainable electricity market for residents.

Ergon Energy’s Response

As a Queensland-owned entity, Ergon Energy is committed to maintaining 100% transparency with its customers. It encourages customers facing hardship to contact their retailer to discuss what support measures may be available to them. Furthermore, Ergon Energy is actively promoting the adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, as a viable mitigation strategy.

The electricity price hike isn’t all bad news for Cairns locals. Ergon Energy has released the updated solar feed-in tariff rates which has also seen an increase, however in a good way. Starting July 1, homeowners who have rooftop solar panels will benefit from a higher export rate:

The collaboration between the government and electricity providers is crucial in finding sustainable solutions to the issue of rising electricity prices in Cairns. By promoting energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, and implementing fair tariff structures, they aim to create a more affordable and sustainable electricity market for residents.

Cairns Future Energy Outlook

As the cost of electricity continues to rise globally, Cairns is not exempt from these price increases. Experts predict that electricity prices in Cairns will continue to grow over the next few years due to several factors, including increased demand due to population growth, necessary infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, and the transition to renewable energy sources.

To mitigate the impact of rising electricity prices, there are several potential solutions and changes in the energy market that could be explored. These include implementing energy-efficient practices, investing in solar power systems, pairing solar power with battery storage, and taking advantage of government incentives and subsidies. It is essential for the government, energy providers, and consumers to work together to navigate the challenges posed by rising electricity prices. By embracing renewable energy solutions and implementing energy-efficient practices, it is possible to create a more sustainable and affordable energy future for Cairns.

In conclusion, the electricity price increase in Cairns set for July 2023 is due to various factors such as the rising cost of generation, transmission, and distribution. This increase may impact consumers’ monthly electricity bills, prompting them to consider their energy usage and seek ways to manage their costs efficiently.

To manage their electricity costs effectively, consumers in Cairns can consider conducting an energy audit, using energy-efficient appliances and lighting, implementing energy-saving practices, exploring renewable energy options like solar panels, comparing electricity plans and providers to find the best rates and discounts, and seeking advice from energy efficiency experts or organisations.

By adopting these considerations, consumers can take proactive steps to minimise the impact of the electricity price increase on their household budgets and contribute to a more sustainable energy future. It is essential for consumers to stay informed about the changes in electricity prices and explore options like energy-saving appliances, renewable energy sources, and efficient energy consumption habits.

Hielscher Electrical: Brenton’s message to the Cairns community

As we navigate these changes in the energy landscape, I want you to know that my team and I at Hielscher Electrical are ready to assist the Cairns and Far North Queensland community. With over 13 years of specialising in rooftop solar panel installation and other energy-saving options, we’ve been providing tailored solutions for homes and businesses. I understand that every customer’s needs are unique, and I’m committed to providing personalised service to help you find the most efficient and cost-effective energy solutions.

We offer free solar quotes and comprehensive Return on Investment (ROI) reports, helping you understand the financial benefits of investing in energy-efficient technologies. My experienced team is dedicated to helping you reduce your energy consumption, lower your electricity bills, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

At Hielscher Electrical, we believe in the power of renewable energy and the importance of energy efficiency. As we face rising electricity prices, we are here to help you navigate these challenges and explore the potential of solar power and other energy-saving options. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable and affordable energy future for Cairns and Far North Queensland.

Brenton Hielscher – Managing Director at Hielscher Electrical and Solar Cairns

Energy price - social media creativeCreative 3

🌞 Save Money and Electricity 🌞

Get Solar Panels for Your Home!

🏠 Interested in solar panels? β˜€οΈ
Contact Hielscher Electrical and Solar now for a FREE onsite assessment and quote. Start saving today! πŸ’°πŸ’‘

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